As edgy, sex-themed feature film “Fifty Shades Darker” brings in scores of audience members — and as Valentine’s Day is upon us — a well-known Christian singer is warning about the ways in which modern-day culture is discussing and framing romance.
Joel Smallbone, 32, is part of the Grammy-winning musical duo For King & Country alongside his brother, Luke. The singer recently told The Christian Post that he sees a major problem with the version of sex and romance perpetuated in films like “Fifty Shades.”
“(We’re) in a time, era and a culture that really focuses on the most unstable variation of love which is this emotionally charged, extravagant initial spark of love,” Smallbone said. “We have to counter that with the calmer, truer, deeper love which is the truest. It’s a decision and a sacrifice.”
In an effort to counter negative narratives, Smallbone and his team released the DVD version of “Priceless,” a feature film that focuses on a man who loses custody of his daughter and is unable to hold employment after the death of his wife. The main character — played by Smallbone — faces an ethical conundrum after agreeing to drive a truck across the country and subsequently discovering what’s inside. Joel and Luke Smallbone also published an associated novel titled, “Priceless: She’s Worth Fighting For,”
As for Joel Smallbone, he’s hoping the film will help tell a more positive story about love and relationships, worrying that much of what’s being perpetuated in media is changing behaviors and perceptions among the masses. He added that he’s not sure people have adequately been exploring whether certain media and entertainment narratives are healthy to be celebrated in the way they are.
“When you’re experiencing these intimate things, these ideologies, these films and this music, somehow in turn it’s reshaping the way you look at things. It’s reshaping the way you perceive yourself, the way I perceive women, (and) what I value in life,” Smallbone told The Christian Post. “My hope is that with films like ‘Priceless’ releasing on Valentine’s Day it’s pushing towards a really timeless message of extravagant chivalry in the face of trafficking and slavery while celebrating a woman’s worth.”
In the end, Smallbone called on men to look toward God and to take an honest look at their lives to be sure they’re living in a respectful manner, adding that love — like everything else that’s good in life — requires hard work and commitment.
“My charge to men who are reading is to find in yourself under God a way to raise up that side of you — that chivalrous side,” he said. “Be honest with yourself whether it’s pornography, whether it’s looking twice at another woman or whether it’s your thought life to really engage in the battle.”
As Deseret News reported last fall, the Smallbone brothers previously launched a movement called “Priceless” in an effort to push back against problematic cultural narratives. It was an undertaking they embarked on after spending time speaking at a Christian woman’s conference, realizing there’s a deeper need for a focus on love, relationships and self-respect.
Listen to Luke Smallbone discuss the “Priceless” movement on “The Church Boys” podcast below:
“We started talking about this priceless movement … (that) culture says for you to talk, dress and act like you’re cheap, but we believe that there’s a God who says you’re priceless,” Luke Smallbone told Deseret News at the time. “And then after the women’s conferences it kind of started to pick up some steam.”
So, the brothers decided to embark on the book and film projects and the rest is, well, history.
(H/T: Christian Post)
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